A new journal and a new tank! It's early days but I have fun making these posts so lets get started.
A month and a half ago I made this
thread where I asked how to keep the spouse happy while having multiple tanks. I received a lot of good advice and some hilarious advice. The end result was my wife agreeing to a new tank but it was going to be a zero equipment tank and it couldn't look like an aquarium. Meaning it couldn't be a rectangle, it needed to be a fish bowl.
I began searching for a LARGE fish bowl. Something bigger then 10 gallons. I did a LOT of searching and ended up with only a few options. I once more asked the forum for help in this
thread. DaveKS came through and found an amazing vase/vessel/fish bowl. But sadly the wife rejected it. I was left with no other option but to commission a hand blown vessel/fish bowl. And that is what I did. I contacted somewhere around 10 glass blowers within a 100 mile radius. Out of those ten, 7 either could not do it or did not respond to my request. Two of the 10 wanted more then 2000 dollars for the commission and one estimated a cost of 250-300 for the fish bowl. I went with this last one. Yesterday I was contacted by the artist and told to come pick it up.
I am actually not a fan of commissioned pieces from artists because I buy the thing before I get to see it and in my experience I am usually not completely happy with the end result. That was unfortunately the case here. My commission was for an oval piece but the artist was clearly aiming at making it perfectly symmetrical, and missed the mark. The result is a piece that is lopsided just enough to make it look like its not quite right without it being so far out of proportion to be obviously a design element. So, not great. But my wife is the real reason it was made and she likes the look after she sees it on a counter so /shrug here we go!!!
Here is the fish bowl with some bananas providing scale:
I just moved this past Saturday, so the place where its ultimately going is slightly blocked at the moment:
This is going to be a Walstad tank with no filter, no heater, no equipment whatsoever. So I began by selecting my dirt. I went with Nature's Care Organic Garden Soil. Here is what the bag looks like:
Here is the back of the bag:
I went with this one because it had reasonably low values for Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potash plus all the ingredients were from natural products as opposed to chemical fertilizers. I would have preferred something even lower in nutrients but it was not available to me.
Because I knew I had a lot of excess nutrients plus large bits of bark I began by sifting and soaking the soil.
I used a dip net as my sifter because that's what I had. this ended up being a very fortuitous choice as the sifting process was made very simple by shaking and massaging the net to get the soil to fall through. Here is the dip net sitting on top of the bucket:
Here is the sifted soil:
In order to jumpstart the nutrient leech I filled the bucket with water. A LOT of the contents of this soil floated. I mean probably 2/3rds or more. This is likely ground up wood/bark/leafs. I let it soak for a few hours and then pulled out everything still floating. Here is what that stuff looked like:
Today I am going to dump out all the water and all particulate that is still suspended in the bucket after 24 hours. I will decide if there is enough dirt left in my mud bucket to proceed or if I need to add more soil to build up a deep enough layer in my fish bowl. My plan is to ultimately fill and dump this bucket every day for at least a week. The plan being to let nutrients leach out into the water NOW before its part of an aquarium substrate.
The substrate itself will be made up of pool filter sand, Safe-t-sorb and dirt. I am planning to put down a thin layer of sand/safe-t-sorb first (mostly for aesthetic reasons), then the dirt, then cap with the sand/safe-t-sorb combo. I will be planting this quite heavily with submersed and emersed growth. I have not decided what the hardscape is going to be yet. I might go plants only, or hardscape might be limited to only wood. Still very undecided.
Light will be a desk lamp with a 10-20watt bulb. Not sure which one yet, ideally I will find a dimmable 20 watt led with 90+cri but that seems hard to find so I may have to settle for less watts or less cri.
Stocking will be shrimp, snails, and hopefully a 2 or 3 japanese rice fish. Assuming I can find the orange ones. They seem exceedingly difficult to locate.
That's all for now! I'll update as progress occurs.